Posts Tagged ‘Dogs’

False Pregnancies In Dogs

Janet | September 2nd, 2008
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Unusual behavior following a heat cycle (estrus) in the non-pregnant female dog is a common occurrence. This condition is termed false pregnancy (hyperluteoidism, pseudocyesis, pseudo-pregnancy). It is a hormonal imbalance and may cause a wide range of clinical signs.

Lets have a brief review of a normal estrous cycle on the female dog in order to have a better understanding of the abnormal type. The onset of heat is characterized by swelling of the vulva and a bloody discharge which happens from four to fourteen days.

In most female dogs, the bloody discharge lasts about ten days. During this time, the ovaries are preparing eggs for release. As the vaginal discharge changes from bloody to straw color, eggs are expelled from the ovaries. It is during this time that fertilization will take place if she is bred and this period also lasts from four to fourteen days. For most dogs, eggs will be released from the ovaries for ten days.

Following these stages the vulva will gradually return to normal size and the discharges will stop. The areas on the ovaries from which eggs erupted are termed follicles and they will undergo changes to become corpora lutea. These secrete progesterone, a hormone necessary for maintaining a normal pregnancy. If no fertilization occurs, then the corpora lutea will regress in about one month and stop secretion of progesterone.

False pregnancy results when the corpora lutea persist and an excess of progesterone is secreted. This is basically and oversimplification of a complex process but it serves to outline the basic hormonal cause.

Symptoms of False Pregnancy

Clinical signs vary considerably but almost always include increased size of the mammary glands and behavior changes. The onset of false pregnancy will usually fall between one and a half to three months after normal heat cycle.

The mammary glands can be slightly enlarged and produce a thick fluid or they may swell up with actual milk up to the point of discomfort. Behavior changes can range from irritability and aggressiveness to shyness and lethargy. Some dogs want to hide and avoid people while others appear to be actively protecting their phantom litter. Often a toy will be adopted and carried almost constantly. Any type of behavior change following a heat cycle should make one suspect of this condition.

Other less common signs are loss of appetite, slight fever, and mild digestive disturbances such as diarrhea. The syndrome can appear from the first heat cycle and usually recurs with every cycle.

Maltese – King & Queens of Affection

Gemma | May 14th, 2008
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The best dog to get for those of you who are looking for something small, beautiful, and noble in stature, should be the Maltese.

These adorable little white creatures were literally bred for companionship. After taking one look at a sweet Maltese, how could anybody ever get angry at this dog? Is so gentle, friendly, and has the innocent look of an angel. Their dark eyes sparkle like gems and its snow white coat creates a vulnerable, yet alluring presence.

Love Is Everything

The Maltese is definitely not the dog for anyone with a big ego. This dog breed should have been named Love Dogs, simply because that is all they know. The Maltese loves everybody and every animal it comes across.

And when around strangers, it is affectionate yet always keeping an eye out for its number one favorite person, its owner. It is truly an eye-tearing display to watch. These animals are so eager to make you happy and please you in any way it can. Their entire mission is to feel good by making its owner feel good.

Maltese dogs are naturally great around children but it is not advisable to keep them around kids that are younger than 9 or 10 years old. It’s not that kids are bad for the dog, or vice versa, it’s just that it’s hard to supervise the activity between rough-playing children and the small, delicate frame of a Maltese dog. These dogs can even break their legs by simply jumping off a standard-sized sofa or chair.

Maltese Manners

So far in reading this article you would assume that the Maltese dog is a perfect little angel that does nothing but sit quietly and blink its eyes at you. Unfortunately, is not the case for every Maltese.

A friend of mine has had his Maltese for four years now. When the dog was about a year old, it had severe behavior problems. If a bug flew too close to its face, he would bark for hours on end. The smallest of items left around the house, such as papers and tiny objects, would be chewed and torn as much as the dog could muster.

What was the problem you might be asking? Well, as mentioned previously, these dogs are so sweet-natured and adorable that many people find it hard to bring themselves to giving discipline to their Maltese when it is young.

The last thing you want to do is hurt its feelings by yelling and disappointing the little guy. In time the dog realizes that there are no repercussions for its actions and because it was not trained early in its life, behavior issues become a common problem. The key is to avoid spoiling your Maltese when the time is necessary for strict discipline and obedience training.

For The Welsh Springer Spaniel Fans

Kate | May 11th, 2008
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The Welsh Springer Spaniel has never caught the fancy of the American Sportsman. On the scale of general popularity, the American Kennel Club ranks the Welsh dog at #120 on the list of recognized breeds.

Sportsmen have a wide selection of bird dog companions, whether they prefer pointers, retrievers, or the spaniel breeds. The pointers outnumber the other specialty breeds in this country. Though the Welsh Springer Spaniel’s prowess as a field dog may be obscured by the specialized abilities of other sporting breeds, indications are that he was the first spaniel ever to be used in front of a sportsman’s gun.

The Welsh Springer Spaniel is somewhat larger than the more popular Cocker Spaniel, and a shade smaller than the English Springer Spaniel. Our new friend is a native of Wales, and is very much in evidence there today. It was his cousin, however, the English Springer Spaniel, that rose to prominence as a bird dog in the United States.

The Welsh Springer Spaniel is a dedicated worker, with no terrain or brush condition considered too difficult. He wears a coat that enables him to withstand both extremes of temperature. So adaptable is he as a working dog that he is also used in his native country as a herd dog for sheep, and for driving cattle. Of the very ancient origin, the Welsh Springer Spaniel breed has been preserved in Wales purely for working purposes.

The one factor that has made the English Springer more popular than the Welsh Springer is the independent nature of the Welsh dog. He has a charming personality and is quite active.

It is said, however, that his independent nature dictates that his training be started when he is quite young; otherwise, he is not considered as easily trained as his English counterpart. If training is started at an early age, he learns his lessons well and retains what he learns.

For centuries though, Welsh sportsmen have been most satisfied with their native dog. Perhaps they know something we don’t and simply aren’t willing to share. It should be remembered that the Germans kept their Weimaraner under wraps for years before that breed’s prowess became known to the rest of the world.

The Welsh spaniel makes a terrific guard dog when properly trained, yet has an even disposition and temperament, compatible for close association with children. He is adaptable to countryside living, but is equally adaptable to city-type apartment dwelling.

He has a minimum of excess hair on his ears and legs. He can get himself caked up with mud and grime during a day of hunting in the field, and simply shake it off, exposing his gleaming white and red coat. He takes to water enthusiastically, whether retrieving fowl, or just taking a refreshing dip.

For The Samoyed Fans

Gemma | May 7th, 2008
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Can the Samoyed dog make a suitable house pet? We say yes!

He is a companion, playmate, and guardian. He will not desert his charge under any circumstances and his herding instinct has turned many a child away from harm. There are times when this dog’s intelligence and ability to grasp a new situation can make you truly wonder. His heart is loyal and true and he only asks the same of you.

Problems in training can arise if an owner does not realize that his Samoyed does not think and react like other breeds. First, you must get to know your dog, and then teach him that you are a loving but firm owner. A Samoyed has a mind of his own and will try to find ways to obey and yet keep his dignity. Or, if he sees he can easily get around you, like a child, he will do so.

It is necessary to impress upon him the fact that an order must be obeyed. But, this must never be done with cruelty, for punishment is not his way. Either you will break his spirit or he will turn from you, or both.

As beautiful as he may be, together with his loyalty and intelligence, the Samoyed isn’t for everybody. Before anyone decides to acquire a dog of that breed, it is recommended emphatically that he do some serious soul-searching and study.

The Samoyed’s personality, temperament, and independent attitude separate him from all other breeds. A family cannot acquire a Samoyed, intending him to be the family pet, and simply isolate the dog in the back yard. He is much too intelligent to accept that type of life. He knows that he is a cut above all other breeds, and expects indeed, demands to be treated accordingly.

If a Samoyed is lavished with his owner’s love and affection in ample doses, the owner shouldn’t have too much trouble. But, if he feels like he’s not is fair share, look out! He can literally chew a house apart, starting at one edge, and keeping at it, make a gaping hole big enough to crawl though. He can start gnawing on a chain-link fence, and in time, cut it apart like a can opener.

He’ll do these things, not as a matter of spite, but rather to prove his independence and superior intellect. Samoyed owners know that the key to a happy and successful relationship with their dog is mutual understanding and respect. The Samoyed will, in turn, flavor the relationship with his own mutual understanding and respect right back to you.

For The Manchester Terrier Fans

Samantha | May 6th, 2008
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Sporting clean, sleek lines, and exhibiting a picture of vigor and spirit, the Manchester Terrier is a portrait of canine beauty. Bred for a specific purpose, his appearance today remains unchanged from the days in which his ancestors entertained the populace of Manchester, England with their rat-hunting ability.

Originally called the Black and Tan Terrier, his prowess as a rat hunter became legendary. In the Middle Ages, when sanitary conditions were questionable at best, this lightning-fast little fellow was as effective as a modern day wonder drug in battling the rat population.

Indeed, he is a handsome fellow, trim, fast, and lethal to vermin.

This dog was very popular late in the last century but slipped into decline in England when a law which forbade ear cropping was passed. Breeders despaired of producing such an attractive dog with button ears.

By that time, however, the breed had already established a foothold in the United States where both cropped and uncropped ears are acceptable. In 1923, the Manchester Terrier Club of America was formed and interest in this little gamester began to rise.

Truly a one-man dog, the Manchester Terrier is unstintingly devoted to its owner. Too, his short coat has a tendency to appeal to the woman of the household, who might shy away from the requirements of the terrier’s longer-coated cousins.

Although still considered suitable for the ratting sport in England, the Manchester Terrier is considered no more than a household pet in this country. But even in that capacity, he must be considered one of the best and easiest to care for.

He is suitable for apartment or condominium dwelling. His short coat, intelligence, alert and quick manner, all make him an excellent prospect for city living.

Since his coat is so short, he hardly sheds at all and has no musty dog odor. He requires very little outdoor exercise and is content to let his world consist of the room you happen to be in at the time.

Since his ears are so very sensitive to all sound, he makes a great little watchdog, but, unfortunately, once he starts barking, it’s not easy to get him stopped. Proper training could solve the problem.

The Toy Variety

Why breeders felt it necessary to miniaturize this little fellow who is, already no bigger than a minute, may never be known. But they did. That’s why there is such a specimen as the Toy Manchester Terrier.

The toy variety is still very much a terrier. He is hardy, alert, quick, energetic, fearless, and barks at every sound. He too makes a perfect apartment dweller, if his barking can be controlled. This should be possible, with proper training, since he shares the same intelligence as his larger counterpart.

The toy version is also devoted to his owner and, in general, is identical to his standard-size brother. The only visible difference is in the ears. The ears of the toy variety stand erect, while the standard Manchester Terrier has ears which tip at the ends unless cropped.

The Toys, however, seem to be somewhat prone to skin disorders, particularly demodectic mange. But if he’s kept clean, and pampered, he’s no trouble at all.

Some authorities believe that the Manchester Terrier’s heritage includes strains of the Dachshund, but this has never been authenticated. It is known for a certainty that the Whippet was bred with the original ratter of Manchester to produce what we now know as the Manchester Terrier.

Regardless of his ancestry, the Manchester Terrier of today comes closer to fitting the requirements of modern-day apartment dwellers than perhaps most other breeds. Although classified here as a new friend, he must also be classified as a real friend, for real he is. His devotion and loyalty is unswerving – truly a remarkable little fellow who deserves to be in the spotlight.

For The Irish Setter Fans

Alan | May 2nd, 2008
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Has the Irish Setter been ruined as a bird dog? Has he been so pampered, brushed, polished, posed, and highly prized for his outstanding beauty that he has become almost useless as a gun dog? Is he now merely an ornament?

This breed has an inborn ability that dates back to the 16th century Ireland, when most men hunted with small dogs of the spaniel family to help them find game birds for the table grouse, partridge, and pheasant.

These dogs left much to be desired, however, and thoughtful men began to control the breeding of the animals to improve their quality. Dogs with speed and endurance were mated to those with keen noses; and of the get, the larger dogs were interbred. By the end of the 16th century, the Irish through selective breeding, adaptation and training had very fine hunting dogs indeed.

Early in the 17th century, the bloodhound known to have superior scenting ability was crossbred with the Irish hunting spaniel; he made a great contribution to the new strain, not only improving the nose, but also increasing the size.

The Irish dogs resulting from this cross developed a unique trait: they approached game stealthily, often creeping, crouching, or actually setting right down; this characteristic undoubtedly gave the new breed its name.

At that time the coloration of the larger dogs was usually red and white an added advantage, as it made them easy to see at a distance. This color combination, although extremely rare, is still occasionally seen in the Irish Setter.

His life span is about two years longer than the average dog, and he stays young all his life. He may grow a little arthritic and grizzled at age ten or twelve, but he will never become grumpy or snappish.

In appearance the Irish Setter is an elegant creature, with a noble head that is smooth and oval on top. In character and personality he is many-faceted and full of surprises. He has a highly developed sense of fun and a grand and lofty disdain for petty annoyances.

His gentlemanly tolerance of the very young child is extraordinary. He will endure pokings, pullings and proddings without moving so much as an eyelash. Because he is so patient and gentle with toddlers, children in a family with an Irish Setter should be taught not to hurt him, for he will not defend himself, not even to the extent of moving away.

The Irish Setter versatile, intelligent, affectionate, loyal, talented and exceedingly beautiful returns many times over the effort expended upon his care and training, whether in the field, the show ring, or as a family pet.

He is a delightful family pet with a strong protective instinct. A remarkable example of his courage, loyalty, quick thinking and determination was recently reported by the Associated Press:

In a small town in Missouri, an Irish Setter and a two-year-old girl were alone in a car when the car suddenly burst into flames. The Setter jumped out an open front window, then turned around and from the outside gripped the child’s clothing with his teeth and pulled and tugged until she was safely out of the car. A few moments later the fire became an inferno; if not for the dog the child would surely perished.

For The Great Dane Fans

Janet | April 29th, 2008
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Ever watch someone walk a Great Dane down the street? Who’s walking who – is what I always think!

Labeled the Apollo of the Dog World, the ancestors of this remarkable breed can be traced to as early as the Fourth Dynasty. During the Middle Ages, Dane-like dogs were exhibited as fighters, warriors, and even performed in the Roman circuses. They eventually became outstanding hunters and were established as the best wild boar hunters of their time.

All living things must have a beginning, and genealogy shows the Great Dane as having been an heir of both the Greyhound and the Mastiff. Oddly enough, Denmark cannot rightfully boast of being the original home of the present-day Great Dane, although his name must take the credit for the evolvement of the Dane of today. The women of Germany are to be credited with having salvaged and protected the breed during the ravages of two world wars.

In spite of his tremendous size, the Great Dane is not by nature an aggressive dog. Along with his elegant features, proud bearing, beautiful and noble appearance, he is a friendly, lovable, and dependable dog of superior intelligence.

Although notoriously gentle and easy to control, this remarkable dog is certainly not for just anyone. Correct nutrition for the Great Dane is expensive. Proper attention to the exercise requirements is a must if the dog is to maintain his happy, secure and dependable demeanor.

A person intent upon owning this noble creature should be prepared to bear the costs associated with proper feeding and have ample space for daily exercise requirements. A can of dog food and a daily walk around the bock is not considered sufficient from the Great Dane’s point of view.

Few who have owned a Great Dane could ever be satisfied with anything less. The devotion and unswerving loyalty demonstrated by this breed would be difficult to duplicate. The requirement of feeding and exercise is considered a small price to pay in return for the companionship of this dog.

This large prize the Great Dane comes in several distinct wrappers. Solid black, blue, harlequin, brindle, and fawn. The head of the Dane displays remarkable length and strength. The length should vary with the height of the dog, but on an average, it is 13 inches from the tip of his nose to the rear skull, for a dog averaging 32 inches from ground to shoulder. The neck is long, slightly arched and well set into the shoulders. The body is extremely muscular, and demonstrates the great strength and galloping power which he possesses.

They are not by nature an aggressive dog and are less inclined to fight than other breeds. This docile characteristic is not an inhibiting factor when it comes to guard and protective instincts. He has proved to be a most effective watchdog and protector. Few thieves bent on burglary would dare venture onto any property being protected by the massive Great Dane.

In spite of their size, the Great Dane can be considered as one of the most gentle and sentimental of all breeds. They love attention, and they love to play, making outstanding pets for children.

For The English Setter Fans

Samantha | April 27th, 2008
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Somewhere between the vast popularity of the Irish Setter and the relative obscurity of the Gordon Setter lies the modest following of that striking breed known as the English Setter.

Originally known as a setting spaniel, this name was shortened to setter, and the breed finally became known as the English Setter to distinguish it from many similar types bred on the Continent during the 15th and 16th centuries.

Unlike the mahogany-coated Irish Setter and the black and tan Gordon, the English Setter comes in a variety of colors, all variations on the theme of a basically white dog flecked either with lemon, orange, black, black and tan, liver or blue.

Breed standards call for the male to measure 25 inches and the female to reach 24 inches; and although the English Setter is similar in the conformation to the other setters in the Sporting Group, he does differ somewhat in temperament and disposition.

Steadier and somewhat more outgoing than the rather shy Gordon but considerably less hyperactive and ebullient than the volatile Irish, the sweet gentle nature of the English Setter makes him a fine hunting dog, excellent family pet and devoted companion.

As do all the dogs in the Sporting Group, the English Setter fares far better in a country environment than in the city where he is confined to exercises at the end of a leash. Nevertheless, he seems to tolerate city confinement better than many similar breeds, even those that are considerably smaller than he.

The oldest gun dog in America, the English Setter was, for many years, the hunter’s choice and was so superior to his competitor, the Pointer, that separate stakes were held for the two breeds in field trials. This, however, soon ceased to be the case once breeders, concerned with beauty and pedigree rather than field ability, neglected this important factor in their breeding programs.

The Setter, of course, still loves to work in the field with his owner, especially when that owner has taken the time and effort to train him with patience and kindness. Although he is not especially quick to grasp lessons, he has a good learning capacity and is not likely to disobey or disregard a command as are the other setters in the Sporting Group. He is a serious dog who concentrates on his work and makes every effort to please the owner to whom he is devoted.

As with many of the breeds in the Sporting Group, however, dogs competing for bench show titles and those entered in field events vary drastically in appearance. This should be taken into consideration when planning to buy a pup of this or any other breed in this group classification.

Dogs with parents who have proven field ability will certainly be likely to have a strong hunting instinct. These field dogs are generally equipped with a shorter, less profuse coat than the bench-show-bred dog and will be more difficult to confine to urban living requirements.

Whatever his background, though, the English Setter is a sensitive, gentle dog. He is not shy, yet he responds better to verbal rather than strong physical correction. He is a breed that profits enormously from all the time, affection and attention that can be showered upon him.

His trusting nature does not usually rate him high as a watchdog, but his devotion to one master and his love of family make him a rewarding and satisfying dog to own. Field dog, show dog or just a pet, the English Setter is one of the finest breeds in the Sporting Group.

For The Collie Fans

Sarah | April 22nd, 2008
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Here in the twentieth century, the Collie is easily identified as the companion of children or as the adornment for an obscure farm in the Midwest. The film and television industry have done much to create this image with the promotion of the classic T.V. series Lassie.

One could easily think the Collie to be as American as hot dogs and apple pie. In some respects this might be true, since the refinements to the original breed were originated in America. But the breed itself can be traced back to the 17th and 18th century to the highlands of Scotland.

It was in Scotland that two varieties of Collies emerged, the smooth-coated Collie and the rough-coated Collie. The smooth-coat is not so well known, but was used in the warmer climate of Scotland for the same purpose as the rough-coated Collie was used in the colder climate. The Collie was a sheepherding animal. His purpose in life was to take the place of ten men, and in this endeavor he excelled.

He was truly a working dog who had not only the ability to herd sheep, but the intelligence and courage to protect both his owner and the flock from the ravages of hungry wolves. Since sheep represented the major industry in Scotland at that time, the Coally dog (as it was referred to at the time) became quite popular in that country.

It is believed that the name Collie is derived from the black-faced sheep they herded, or from the fact that the original Collies were themselves all black. Our modern day Collie however, sports a variety of different colored coats; sable and white, blue merle, tri-color, or white.

Whether worker or show dog, the Collie is gentle and affectionate in nature and graceful in gait. He is one of the most easily trained dogs, but has a temperament that displays his reluctance to repeat any trick he has performed well already.

The Collie shows a boundless sense of responsibility. The selection of a Collie to portray Lassie could not have been more accurate. The Collie has a centuries-old heritage of faithfully guarding whatever is committed to his custody.

As with most long-haired dogs, the Collie coat needs faithful grooming and attention to prevent skin disorders, fleas and ticks. This dog has been bred to remain outdoors for most of the day and both the coat and the dog are not at their best unless these requirements are fulfilled.

Since his guarding instinct is so highly developed, he makes a fine watchdog and protects children in his people family, much like his ancestors protected the sheep of their flock. He is known for his loyalty and faithfulness with those he knows and loves, but is reserved and distrustful of strangers.

The Collie is not suited for apartment living. He is happiest when at liberty in the great outdoors. Because of his size, he needs the open spaces in which to run. Of all the breeds which exemplify companionship to man, the Collie stands out among the best.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: Clearing Up The Confusion

Gemma | April 18th, 2008
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Whereas many dog breeds have origins that are cloaked in controversy, those of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are cloaked in confusion. So let’s clear it up for you:

For starters, you must realize that there indeed does exist a breed known as Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. There also exists a breed known as King Charles Spaniels. To further confuse the issue, both breeds are strikingly similar in appearance. So similar in fact, that some countries lump the two together under the common name of English Toy Spaniels.

And as if that weren’t enough, we must also add that even though considered spaniels, they are not gun dogs; neither are they classed in the sporting group.

To begin digging our way out of this confusion we must start by accepting the fact that the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the King Charles Spaniel were originally one and the same. Spaniels have always been a favorite of aristocratic families of Europe.

King Charles II was one who was so enamored by the little spaniels that the court’s diary keeper noted: They had access to all parts of Whitehall, even on state occasions.

The diarist goes on to write:

All I observed there was the stillness of the king playing with his dogs all the while and not minding to his business.

Mary, Queen of Scots had an entire pack of small spaniels. Just before she was executed, one of the spaniels crept under her clothing, hung on tight and had to be removed by force. Toy spaniels appear in paintings by Gainsborough, Rubens, and even Rembrandt.

The little spaniels became so popular that over the years their pattern and characteristics changed. They developed diminutive characters, more similar to the Pekingese than to the miniature Springer Spaniel types. They eventually evolved as the spaniels King Charles love so much.

In 1920, an American living on Long Island in New York was reported to have put up some pretty interesting prize money at the famous Crufts Dog Show in England, for any breeder who could come up with a revival of the old type spaniel of the king’s era. The British breeders accepted the challenge and started from the bottom.

They reconstructed the spaniel over the period of just a few generations, and finally produced the original-looking King Charles Spaniel. But herein lies the problem – instead of getting to wear the original title (which they really deserved since they were replicas of the originals), they were called Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. The addition of the name Cavalier would therefore distinguish them from what had evolved into the King Charles Spaniel of our present era.

From about the year 1926 until the present day, there are two separate breeds. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (most likely akin to the original King Charles Spaniel) and the King Charles Spaniel (far removed from what he was originally).